Music, Sound, and the Moving Image

Music and Memory in Advertising: Music as a Device of Implicit Learning and Recall

Music, Sound, and the Moving Image (2007), 1, (1), 51–71.


Music may play several roles and have many effects in advertising; it may attract attention, carry the product message, act as a mnemonic device, and create excitement or a state of relaxation. In this paper, the role of music within advertising is evaluated during low-attention conditions. The current experiment was carried out whereby participants were exposed to an advert that was embedded into a sequence of three other adverts, presented in the middle of an engaging TV programme, thus replicating natural conditions. There were four audio conditions examined in an example advertisement: jingle, instrumental music, instrumental music with voiceover and environmental sounds with voiceover, all four containing identical verbal information. The duration of the target advert was approximately 45 secs.

Results indicate that music is effective in facilitating both implicit learning and recall of the advertised product, showing that, under non-attentive conditions, there appears to be a certain mechanism of unconscious elaboration of the musical signal. The role of previous musical training of the participants was shown to have little significance.

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Author details

Alexomanolaki, Margarita

Loveday, Catherine

Kennett, Chris